Climate love
Image of Nicolas Garcia

Nicolas Garcia

Climate love

Replacing parking lots with vegetable gardens to prevent drought and flooding

The municipality of Elne in France has been installing urban vegetable gardens in place of parking lots in the city center to help mitigate drought and flooding.
Until the beginning of this project in April 2023, the city was entirely covered in stone and tarmac, with very few trees and no wooded parks. It was pretty bad, especially since the region suffers from an intense drought during the summer of 2022. The level of the water table is even "historically low", according to the French Geological and Mining Research Bureau. In one year, 150mm have fallen, compared with 600mm in regular times ⚠️ So it was now, more than ever, necessary to act on it. And that's what the mayor, Nicolas Garcia, did!
🥦 With the help of its inhabitants, the municipality of Elne replaced parking lots with urban vegetable gardens. This will capture water to replenish the aquifers, create islands of coolness, enhance the soil permeability, and produce food for the residents.

Urban vegetable gardens in Elne, France. Picture by JC Milhet / Reporterre
Urban vegetable gardens in Elne, France. Picture by JC Milhet / Reporterre

The mayor got inspiration from the "sponge city" model. This idea was developed in the 2000s by major Asian cities such as Wuhan, China, to deal with flooding. It allows water to infiltrate where it falls, which limits the damage caused by extreme weather events such as flooding. This is quite a fitting concept as Elne is located in the South of France, where they experience very long periods without rain, and very short periods when it rains heavily.

The "sponge city" of Wuhan, China. Picture by Sino / Getty
The "sponge city" of Wuhan, China. Picture by Sino / Getty

And this is just the beginning: the municipality of Elne plans to plant a hundred trees and create a vegetated ditch on the old wholesale market. This will be great to both help capture the rainwater and create areas of freshness in a hot city. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of this initiative! Let's hope other cities get inspired (cc Paris, the European city with the highest risk for heat-related death, this could be something to implement).
💡 What is your city/village doing to fight against climate change and protect its biodiversity? I would love to read about other local initiatives, so don't hesitate to comment! 👇
Read more:



Do you agree?

149 more agrees trigger scaled up advertising

  • Videlis Eddie

    50 w

    Such a brilliant idea other cities should buy such ideas

    2
    • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

      50 w

      Brilliant idea

      3
      • We Don't Have Time

        50 w

        Such a great initiative! We need more green spaces

        3
        • George Kariuki

          51 w

          This proactive approach demonstrates a recognition of the importance of green spaces in urban environments and their role in managing water resources.

          5
          • Daniel Waweru

            51 w

            Impressed that they found a very powerful and reliable solution, To prevent drought and flooding Wow!

            5
            • Komu Daniel

              51 w

              good thought

              5
              • winnie nguru

                51 w

                This is beautiful. Solutions are always within reach

                6
              • zelda ninga

                51 w

                France is doing well this is among many other cities that have changed there cities parking lot for a better cause. Good work France.

                5
                • Marine Stephan

                  51 w

                  @zelda_ninga_442 I am not sure France in general should be praised for that, it is mostly local initiatives, and unfortunately not national ones

                  6
                  • zelda ninga

                    50 w

                    @marine_stephan I was not aware of that but now I know.

                    1
                  • Elizabeth Gathigia

                    51 w

                    A beautiful idea indeed

                    10
                    • Munene Mugambi

                      51 w

                      Might work, what about the cars?

                      5
                      • Marine Stephan

                        51 w

                        @munene_mugambi This is a great question, but I think that this initiative must be accompanied by investment in public transport to reduce car dependency

                        4
                      • Beatrice Wachera

                        51 w

                        Wow.i should borrow this idea and sell it somewhere in the city.brilliant mind

                        19
                      • rosebellendiritu

                        51 w

                        That's great and beautiful too than just stone and cement

                        8
                        • Kevin

                          51 w

                          Brilliant thought

                          18
                          • walter lungayi

                            51 w

                            Great idea

                            10
                            • Marine Stephan

                              51 w

                              @walter_lungayi It truly is! Do you know any other similar initiatives by cities close to where you live?

                              7
                            Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
                            Post youtube preview with preloading
                            youtube overlay

                            Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

                            Write a climate review

                            Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.
                            0 trees planted

                            One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

                            Download the app

                            We plant a tree for every new user.

                            AppleAndroid